Cumbre Immigration Conference

Jasney and I attended the Cumbre  (Summit) 2010 Conference, which was co-sponsored by the Office of Latino/Latin American Studies (OLLAS) from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. It was entitled Human Mobility, the Promise of Development and Political Participation. Jasney presented her research in a presentation entitled “Colombian Fiancées, International Marriage Brokers and the Migration Industry.” There were several other interesting presentations, but perhaps the notion most pertinent to trafficking was one discussed indirectly at several of the presentations: the idea of marginalization of immigrants. While this conference dealt with immigration to the U.S., the treatment of undocumented people around the world is similar. They are frequently stripped of their human rights, presumed guilty and driven underground. Combine a lack of documentation with the marginalization of women in general and sex workers (willing or not) specifically and a trafficking victim’s fear of reprisal and you have a perfect storm of vulnerability. Only by treating immigrants of all stripes as human first and a category on a form second can we hope to offer these people any hope.

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